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The majority of people consider a breathalyzer reading to be irrefutable evidence when it comes to proving whether or not you were driving while your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was elevated past the legal limit. Nevertheless, as with all equipment, there is still a margin of error and many parameters that can adversely affect the readings of a breathalyzer test.
Causes of Incorrect BAC Readings
An incorrectly calibrated breathalyzer can easily cause the ratio at which the machine calculates the amount of alcohol in an individuals blood to fluctuate as much as 1000 points, causing extremely inaccurate results. Common malfunctions such as low batteries or even magnetic interference with onboard storage media can also compromise result reports from a breathalyzer unit.
The state of your mouth at the time of your BAC testing also has a enormous effect on the readings. Residual alcohol trapped in your mouth within your saliva, food caught in your teeth, or even residue on your tongue can all increase your BAC readings. Breathalyzers also detect the methyl part of a molecule present in alcohol - and many other substances. The device may be detecting other chemical compounds that contain methyl besides liquor. For example, use of an alcohol-inclusive mouthwash has been shown to increase BAC readings.
Another major downside in the breathalyzer unit is that the breathalyzer presumes the temperature of your mouth is about 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Some research have shown that people arrested for Driving under the influence had actual mouth temperatures between 93 and 98 degrees, an additional variable that can adversely influence the BAC reading. A breathalyzer can only calculate the content of alcohol in your blood, and this estimation is based on the amount in your lungs and breath. As a result, if you have belched, hiccuped, or vomited within 20 minutes of testing, this may also increase the BAC readings and lead to a Virginia DUI arrest when you were driving while below the legal limit.
Your body composition is also an important factor in how your BAC readings are reported. Two people with a 100-pound weight difference can consume the same amount of alcohol in the same period of time, but the lighter person can be affected up to twice as much as the heavier person. Your metabolism also impacts alcohol absorption. Breathalyzers test the level of alcohol as it has been absorbed into the bloodstream, but depending on how fast your metabolism works, it may not have completely absorbed at the time of testing.
Unreliable results can change the outcome of a DUI case.
If your DUI defense attorney can convince a jury that your BAC test was flawed, they're less likely to consider a guilty verdict. With all the variables that can affect breathalyzer readings, there's a good chance that any of the issues listed above affected your breathalyzer readings. A good Virginia DUI defense lawyer knows what to look for and knows how to question this kind of evidence in court.
With all of these ways the BAC test can be inaccurate or altered, a breathalyzer BAC reading is not always considered to be an accurate indicator of DUI.
“I had a good result on my dui case and I would use Marcos again. He is pro-active instead of re-active.”
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